Brazilian sports betting market
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Localisation, search and AI: targeting success in Brazil’s sports betting market

The establishment of a regulated sports betting market in Brazil has created huge excitement in the industry, but has also left international operators, suppliers and affiliates with a host of questions about the size of the opportunity, how to localise product offerings and the most-effective promotional strategies. 

To find out some of the answers, we spoke to Altenar’s Americas Regional Director Hugo Llanos, OpenBet’s VP, LatAm Marc Crean, Checkd Group’s Head of SEO George Webb and Xtremepush’s CEO Tommy Kearns

Brazil is the seventh most populous country in the world, so there’s plenty of excitement at the market regulating. What are the biggest opportunities and conversely, challenges, for new market entrants?

HL: Brazil has always been the promised land for operators. It is a huge country with a strong economy and most importantly, a great passion for sports in general. Around 46.2% of the population engaged in sports betting between 2022 and 2023, presenting a substantial opportunity to attract customers to their business. 

A challenge faced by new market entrants would be the language itself – and more specifically, tailoring products to Brazilian Portuguese. This is specific to the region and the country’s bettors should have access to content in their own language that acknowledges their traditions, customs and vibrant culture.

Marc Crean, Openbet
Marc Crean

MC: Brazil is not only the largest territory to regulate in recent memory, but also an extremely diverse country with an incredible passion for sports. Regionality and capillarity will present several market specific opportunities and challenges. Moreover, the sheer scale of the user base is unprecedented for a single regulated market. Global product quality combined with local execution and marketing will be crucial.

Additionally, there has been a welcome focus from the government on responsible gaming, anti-fraud and player protection. OpenBet has always been at the forefront of these trends, and we are really pleased to see that Brazil appears to be taking this seriously too. Our Protect product line, particularly Neccton, will provide an important option for operators looking to stay ahead of the game in this area.

TK: Brazil is a significant market for the online gambling industry. There’s a population of 214 million and a huge appetite for sport in the country. It’s no shock that operators are excited by the potential on offer, both in sports betting and also cross-selling sports bettors to casinos. 

As with any new market opening up, there will be a battle for market share, meaning high acquisition costs. It’ll be key to drive value from those audiences by making sure players stay active and loyal. Operators have to understand who their customers are and how they engage with the proposition, to serve them with relevant content and offers. This is where the modern CRM platform comes in as an essential tool for shaping the player journey towards a successful outcome. 

At Xtremepush, we are active in Brazil with casino platform and game developer Vibra Gaming and leading Operators Betsul & Playr.bet, with all parties utilising our customer engagement platform. It’s a market we are very excited about. 

George Webb
George Webb

GW: The size of Brazil’s population, coupled with the widespread access to mobile devices – our Brazil traffic is between 80-90% mobile on average at the moment – presents a big opportunity for sports betting operators. It’s a dynamic market which the whole industry is excited about.

However, as with any new market opening up, there is going to be intense competition. Any new entrants (or their affiliate partners) will face familiar challenges in distinguishing themselves and carving out their own share, whether that is on social or in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), for example. 

Navigating Brazil’s complex financial regulations, particularly when integrating popular domestic payment methods into existing technological infrastructure while keeping on top of compliance, will undoubtedly create issues for anyone without a deep understanding. 

With Vaidebet signing a record high sponsorship deal with Corinthians and paving the way for even bigger betting sponsorships across Brazil, will there be a battle for brand supremacy? Will early movers dominate, as in the US?

MC: There will always be some similarities to other market trends, but it is important to recognise that Brazil is unique. Additionally, the market is being regulated federally and the size of this single market means we are unlikely to see consolidation at the same pace and scale as happened in the US. That said, regulatory and operating costs will ultimately lead to significantly fewer operators in the market, making brand an important factor for success. 

There is a need for gambling brands to establish credibility and trust, which presents a real opportunity for those operators willing to invest in responsible gaming and player education.

GW: Absolutely. Early movers who establish brand recognition and trust in Brazil will reap the benefits as the marketing in Brazil and LatAm more widely matures even further.  

With a huge number of national and state leagues, as well as numerous tournaments through the year and the reformatting of the FIFA Club World Cup to include more sides from the Copa Libertadores, we will see lots of competition for sponsorship opportunities as well as in the digital space. 

HL: The battle for brand supremacy has already started. Once regulation kicks in, there will be a bigger market for these sponsorships and they will become more expensive as demand increases. Brazil has a population of more than 210 million and sport runs through their veins, meaning visibility is key. 

We will have to wait and see if international operators who are already established in other markets have bigger wallets to dominate, or if local operators with localised content, customer support and knowledge in general will come out on top. 

Tommy Kearns
Tommy Kearns

TK: It will be interesting to see how the regulated market evolves and whether or not it follows a similar pattern to the US where leading brands dominate. It is difficult to gauge how the market will shape up at this stage. What is certain is that there will be a massive acquisition push to channel bettors towards regulated sportsbooks. 

Free-to-play (FTP) games will be a tool that operators lean on to attract and educate new customers. At the same time, it is important to realise that gamification – as it has been traditionally utilised in the industry – has its limits. 

The new way of unified CRM solutions will emerge in Brazil, as in other markets globally, allowing operators to use the data from a gamification solution in real-time. This will mean bettors are presented with timely, relevant offers that keep them interested and engaged. 

How can sportsbook providers tailor their existing solutions to cater to the specific preferences and needs of Brazilian bettors? 

GW: Personalisation should be a significant factor when looking at evolution for Brazil. Sportsbooks need to customise platforms with Portuguese language options and country targeting, for example expanding a gTLD domain like we have, or launching a separate .br domain with accurate language and location targeting in place. 

The creation of culturally relevant content to enhance user experience and stand a chance of ranking in SERPs is incredibly important. This will of course create some logistical challenges for UK or European companies looking to expand into Brazil, but it provides a great opportunity for freelance content creators and digital marketing experts in Brazil, who will find themselves a hot commodity!

Hugo Llanos, Altenar
Hugo Llanos

HL: As a provider, it is important for us to stay on top of new trends. In recent years, Brazil’s adoption of social media has increased significantly, as has access to the internet. These are important aspects to consider when tailoring existing solutions to Brazilian customers of the future. 

We must continue to work on enhancing the user experience and making them as user-friendly as possible. We also pay attention to the type of bets, markets and even the way we do the risk management, as we know brand trust is a top requirement for bettors. It is a matter of innovating and adapting, as quickly and flexibly as possible.  

MC: OpenBet has been successfully entering new sport betting markets for over 25 years and seeing how new users and local dynamics drive product innovation is always the most exciting part. In the short term, we can see a lot of opportunities in getting the fundamentals of a high-quality sports betting offer right. Scalability, competitive and differentiated pricing strategies, content strategy and simplified user experiences tailored to local expectations, all offer plenty of room for improvement. In the longer term, it is important to appreciate the unique elements of Brazilian culture and consumer behaviour. 

The passion for football, the unprecedented consumption of social media, the fintech revolution, local early adoption trends, the capillarity of Brazilian industry, among other factors will lead to new opportunities for innovation. The partnerships that combine global scale and product quality with local execution and expertise will be the ones that win.

TK:  It is really about gaining a deeper understanding of the customer. The days of rolling out a brand, loading a platform with generic betting options, employing a very basic retention strategy and waiting for the dollars to pile up are long gone. 

New technology can, and does, play a big role in delivering superior customer experiences at every stage of the life cycle. 

For example, AI solutions can create powerful toolkits that take player data and turn it into predictive insights that operators can leverage – in real time – for advanced campaign personalization. If operators can build their own customised AI models that match their unique user data, use cases and goals, then they will be in a far better position to know what their customers want and need at any given moment. 

Transparent AI and machine learning toolkits can help operators in Brazil do just that. This offers them a significant competitive advantage when it comes to retention and brand loyalty. 

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